Yūgen may be new to the fine dining scene, but chef Mari Katsumura (Grace, Blackbird, Acadia) certainly isn’t. She’s worked for some of the city’s best chefs, and now she’s ready to show the city her take on contemporary Japanese cuisine in the former Michelin-starred Grace location.
Daughter of longtime restaurateur parents at Boystown Asian-French Yoshi’s café, Katsumura sources the best of both local and Asian ingredients. The result is one singular but astounding menu choice: an ever-changing 13-course tasting menu ($205) featuring artfully plated dishes like Suzuki sashimi with Japanese citrus and cucumber; crab rice with Alaskan king crab, trout roe, ruffed grain furikake; and shabu-shabu with Miyazaki wagyu, chicories, and sweet sesame. Here’s what to expect from it all.
A Zen Vibe
With a self-maintaining living wall and fireplace where you can see the flicker of flames through natural stone, Yūgen really displays the Zen ideology of bringing nature inward. Hand-painted earth-toned walls, custom charcoal-wood tabletops, and Japanese artwork also keep things chill and captivating.
An All-Star Team
Katsumara shows us who runs the world by pulling together an all-female entourage with pastry chef Jeanine Lamedieu (Le Bernadin NYC), general manager Morgan Olszewski, and beverage director Olivia Noren.
A Casual Side
For an à la carte experience, try Kaisho, the no-reservations lounge at the front of the restaurant. Expect more playful dishes like the breaded and fried Katsu Sando, a A5 wagyu sandwich with giardiniera on milk bread ($100). You can also snack on Japanese Chex mix ($8) and Japanese cocktails ($8-$20), like Tanuki tea with Iwai whiskey, ginger, yuzu, black sesame, and mint.
620 W. Randolph, 312-265-1008.
Reservations required for dining room
Interior photo by Isabelli Public Relations; food photos by Anthony Tahlier